Heaven received its Most Precious Angel on May 28, 2021 when George J. Korkos, MD, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Elm Grove. He was 89.
George leaves his children Dr. James Korkos, Dr. Thomas (Dr. Christina) Korkos and Kathryn (Dr. Charles) Theofilos; his eight grandchildren: Alexa Korkos, Nicole (Austin) Knapp, Demetra, George and Maria Korkos as well as Stefan, Nicholas and James Theofilos; his sister Evangeline Karioris; Brother Nick Korkos; and many loving nieces, nephews, sponsored children and friends.
George had died of his 59-year-old wife, Penny. They are now happily united in heaven and dance to their wedding song “The Nearness of You”.
George was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 4, 1931, and Milwaukee was always at home. After an undergraduate degree at Marquette University, George attended Marquette Dental School, which he graduated in 1955. He then completed his medical degree, graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin and further specialized in plastic and reconstructive surgery from the prestigious St. Louis University Medical School. George later found his niche in facial reconstruction. He founded Plastic Surgery Associates in Milwaukee, where he practiced cosmetic surgery for over 45 years.
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George’s hard work, dedication and relentless pursuit of perfection earned him many awards and accolades. He was named Alumnus of the Year at the Medical College of Wisconsin and was elected Chairman of the Walter Ziet Fellows by his colleagues for more than 15 years. He peaked when the Chair of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin was promoted to the George J. Korkos Chair of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Outside of medicine, George remained engaged nationally. He has held board positions at the Heritage Bank of Milwaukee, Marshall & Ilsley Bank of Milwaukee, and Brinks Security. From 1980 to 1982 he was also appointed to the Presidential Rank Review Board under President Reagan.
A passionate Greek American, George was a lifelong advocate for the continuation of the Hellenic legacy by bringing people together. This began with his founding of the annual Telly Savalas Memorial Golf Classic in Palm Springs, California, which led to the creation of the National Hellenic Society, of which he remained a board member until his death. George had an extraordinary influence on young Greek Americans through mentoring and the founding of Heritage Greece, a program that sends college students to Greece to explore their heritage. These organizations have created lifelong friendships and memories that will last for years.
George was an integral part and tireless supporter of the National Hellenic Museum. He was also an early member of Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Society and served on the board of directors of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. He was honored with the Ellis Island Award, the HANAC Man of the Year and the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award. He was awarded the most prestigious honor in Greek Orthodoxy with his appointment as Archon Actuary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a member of the Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew.
George was a self-proclaimed “sports fanatic”. One of his most cherished accomplishments was the founding of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1968. He was instrumental in signing Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the team, which ultimately led to the Bucks becoming 1971 NBA champions. Almost five decades later, he proudly wore his master’s ring. After the team was sold, George was part of the group that invested in the Golden State Warriors. Even so, his heart was always with the Milwaukee Bucks. He remained associated with the Bucks organization until his death and George could often be seen cheering on the team.
George was a man who lived life to the fullest. A man who is loved by everyone. A man who lived his dream and at the same time gave something back to those who needed him most. George loved being around people. He was a lifelong member of the Milwaukee Athletic Club, where he was known for his infamous “Korkos Workout”. He often hung out with the boys at the Bluemound Country Club or stayed at Zister’s court.
George was the patriarch of the Korkos family and lived for their happiness. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and George always made sure he was there to support their accomplishments and celebrate their successes. He will always be remembered as the ultimate Papou and the most loving father. We’ll miss you, but we’ll see you again somewhere across the rainbow.
Visit to the Krause Funeral Home, 12401 West National Avenue, New Berlin, Wisconsin on Thursday, June 3, 2021, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Trisagion service at 6:30 p.m. Memorial service at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 9400 West Congress Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Funeral follows at Pinelawn Memorial Park. Instead of flowers, memorials to George J. Korkos, MD Foundation, 300 Village Square Crossing, Suite 102, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 or www.gjkfoundation.com.